For a woman whose resume includes quitting her governor’s job in mid-term and failing as a vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin is sitting pretty these days, raking in the bucks from book sales, pontificating on Facebook and becoming a one-woman media empire.
Indeed, the flake from Wasilla, Alaska, appears to have it made.
Which delights some conservative Republicans who actually still consider the controversial Palin Presidential material and scares the hell out of Democrats who realize that, in a political environment where a one-term Senator from Illinois can become President, anything can happen.
Like it or not, Palin is a “phenom” and has become a force to be reckoned with. She may be product of the times or a fluke of political nature but there’s no denying that this tsunami of contradictions will, whether we like it not, be a player on the national scene.
The path of Palin’s political career is littered with the corpses of those who underestimated her.
Without leaving home, Sarah Palin will be able to reach much of her political base, courtesy of a soon-to-be-built television studio in her living room paid for by her newest media patron, Fox News. From her house in Wasilla, Alaska, Ms. Palin also sends missives to 1.3 million Facebook “fans,” writes newspaper columns, Tweets and signs copies of her book for donors.
She reads daily e-mail briefings on domestic and foreign policy from a small group of advisers who remained loyal after her tumultuous vice presidential campaign in 2008. And though she has fashioned an image as an antiestablishment conservative, she also speaks regularly to a bipartisan nobility of Washington insiders who have helped enrich her financially and position her on the national political stage.
Ms. Palin is becoming increasingly vocal and visible, with a series of events scheduled this weekend: delivering a paid speech to the Salina, Kan., Chamber of Commerce on Friday night, headlining a national Tea Party convention in Nashville on Saturday and appearing on behalf of the re-election campaign of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas in Houston on Sunday.
This latest foray “Outside” (Alaskan slang for the rest of the country) culminates a week in which she achieved a typical run of multimedia ubiquity from Wasilla: She e-mailed a high-profile endorsement of Dr. Rand Paul in a Republican Senate primary in Kentucky. She called — via Facebook — for the resignation of the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, for using the term “retarded,” and announced — via a column in USA Today — that she would attend a Tea Party gathering next month in Searchlight, Nev., the hometown of the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid.
Her growing cast of advisers and support system could be working in the service of any number of goals: a presidential run, a de facto role as the leader of the Tea Party movement, a lucrative career as a roving media entity — or all of the above. Ms. Palin represents a new breed of unelected public figure operating in an environment in which politics, news media and celebrity are fused as never before. Whether she ever runs for anything else, Ms. Palin has already achieved a status that has become an end in itself: access to an electronic bully pulpit, a staff to guide her, an enormous income and none of the bother or accountability of having to govern or campaign for office.